Game Analysis - California

Many, including yours truly, doubted Washington's ability to Cal on the road after watching the Golden Bears light up opposing defenses for an average of 50 points per game in their first five games. Washington not only dominated their hosts on the defensive side of the ball, they also got a bounce back game from the offense and, more specifically, QB Cyler Miles...

Turning Point/Play of the Game (Part 1): On Cal’s second drive of the day, Jared Goff drove his team down inside the Washington one yard line. On 2nd-and-goal, Goff tried to reach the ball across the line, but instead he lost control of the ball and it bounced right into the hands of Shaq Thompson who spun out of a tackle attempt by Daniel Lasco and then, with a convoy of blockers, outran the rest of the Cal offense and wound up scoring a touchdown to put Washington ahead 7-0 after the extra point. The 100-yard fumble return was Thompson’s fifth score of the season (one on offense, four on defense) and it was a backbreaker for the Cal offense who looked like they were just going to continue what they did against Washington State the week before.

Turning Point/Play of the Game (Part 2): With the Huskies leading 21-0 and just 1:26 remaining on the clock in the first half, Cyler Miles hit John Ross on a short pass from the Washington 14. The sophomore wideout then showed his open-field skills by jetting 86 yards for the score and essentially salting the game away.

Offensive Player of the Game: Is there any question who it should be? Cyler Miles came out and had a nice bounce back game after a horrendous performance vs. Stanford. The sophomore signal-caller finished the day 22 of 29 for 273 yards with three touchdowns and, more importantly, no interceptions.

Defensive Player of the Game: Thompson had the big play and he certainly had a good game, but there’s just no debating the impact that DE Hauoli Kikaha had on the game. The senior BUCK totaled nine tackles (six solo), 4.5 tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and three sacks and spent most of the in the California backfield.

Handouts to the standouts: While the offense did what they needed to do and Miles had a big day, this game belonged to the defense as they held a team averaging 50 points per game to just seven points. Thompson led all tacklers with 11 (five solo) and he had the first touchdown of the day on the 100-yard fumble return; freshman S Budda Baker had probably his best afternoon as a Dawg, racking up nine tackles and he was consistently around the ball and didn’t miss a tackle; CB Marcus Peters was rarely thrown at, but he still made plays when he had the chance as he finished with three tackles on the day; DL Joe Mathis had two monster hits on Cal’s final drive and brought a physicality we hadn’t seen out of him since he signed with Washington in 2013; freshman DL Will Dissly made the big tackle at the Washington one on 4th-and-goal for Cal, ending the Golden Bears’ final drive; Ross had the big 86-yard touchdown to finish the first half on a good note, but he also had a couple of other key plays, extending drives with his quickness and open-field running. Ross finished the day with four receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown; DiAndre Campbell only had one reception, but it was an important one as he hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Miles to give Washington a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The senior wideout also made some key blocks on short passes that freed up other receives to get first downs; Jaydon Mickens had 10 receptions for 69 yards which might seem a bit light on yardage, however, he turned five of his receptions into first downs, extending drives and putting Washington in a position to score; Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington combined to rush for 119 tough yards on 27 carries. Each tailback also hauled in a reception for five yards.

Stat of the game: Washington again won the turnover battle 3-0, but, unlike the Stanford, game, they converted them into 17 points stealing away any momentum that the Golden Bears were building. Two others worth noting was Cal being 7 of 17 on third downs (41.2%) and they were just one of four once they got inside the redzone.

Needs work: The passing offense was much better, but then again, it was still Cal. Do not be mistaken, this was still what this team needed and they got it done on offense, but they left at least 10 points on the field and they had more opportunities to ice this game much earlier. Another area of concern are the penalties as Washington was hit with eight for 76 yards. Sure, one of them was a blown call – Josh Perkins’ targeting/crack-back – but still, you can’t continue to kill yourselves with untimely penalties.

Bottom line: This game has to give a huge boost of confidence to the team. They were able to move the ball offensively and they shut down a power offense, holding them to just seven points. There is still a lot of work to do and with Oregon on the road next week, the Huskies will need to be as sharp as they have been all season. The players (and fans) should enjoy this win tonight, but once the clock strikes midnight, the focus needs to be on continued improvement on both sides of the ball and on their target this weekend – Oregon.


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